The Hope Center: Thrifting to assist those in need

Customers browse through shelves supplies.

LAUREN ELLENBECKER, Mint columnist

With the mission to partner with people who are willing to make positive life changes, Hope Center in Moscow strives to “help others pursue excellence” by addressing the social, relational and spiritual aspects of poverty.

Hope Center was established in 2009 and was previously a clothing closet run by the Church of the Nazarene in Moscow.

DeDe McReynolds, service coordinator at Hope Center, emphasized that this thrift store isn’t only a place to find great deals on clothes, but it also serves as a safe environment where people get a second chance.

Hope Center offers people who are recovering addicts, have criminal backgrounds or have trouble with social skills, a way to move forward in their lives. After joining this program, these individuals learn essential skills they need to become successful later in life, McReynolds said.

The Hope at Work Program provides people with training to improve skills needed to thrive in a workplace. The process includes employment training, budget counseling, GED tutoring and a support coach to help individuals work on their personal growth, McReynolds said.

Individuals are generally in the Hope at Work Program for a year, but it all depends on their goals. After they complete the training phase of the program, they are then placed in a workforce reentry phase, which consists of workshops such as resume building and mock interviews, McReynolds said.

Although the program can be difficult at times, those who are determined to change their lives persevere, she said. For example, one person in the program was involved with Hope Center for two years to work on their sobriety, and was eventually able to gain stable housing and move on to full-time employment in the community.

The probationary court approves of the center because it has a positive and healthy influence on those who become involved in it – therefore reducing potential issues that may arise, McReynolds said.

In addition to this, Hope Center partners with other local organizations that assist individuals and families in need on the Palouse. Hope Center supplies $10,000 in voucher grants that are awarded to organizations so they can be distributed to community members in need, she said.

Organizations that have received these vouchers in the past include Alternatives to Violence of the Palouse, the Lewis-Clark Adult Learning Center and other government funded resource offices. McReynolds said these organizations then decide how to use the vouchers, such as purchasing household items or clothes.

With the recent expansion of Hope Center building, paid for through grants and savings, this organization is starting to magnify its influence in the community. In addition to this expansion, Hope Center strives to grow its training program so it can help more people who want to change their lives, McReynolds said.

Lauren Ellenbecker is a freshman studying communication from Anchorage, Alaska. She can be contacted at mint@dailyevergreen.com.